It's Not About the Truth : The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered
Mike Pressler walked into the bottomfloor meeting room of the Murray Building and, as he had done hundreds of times over a sixteen-year career at Duke University, prepared to address his men's lacrosse team. Forty-six players sat in theater-style chairs, all eyes riveted forward.
It was 4:35 P.M. on Wednesday, April 5, 2006. The program's darkest hour had arrived in an unexpected and explosive announcement.
Pressler, a three-time ACC Coach of the Year, informed his team that its season was canceled and he had "resigned," effective immediately. While his words reverberated off the walls, hysteria erupted. Players cried, confused over a course of events that had spun wildly out of control. What began as an off-campus team party with two hired strippers had accelerated into a rape investigation -- one that exposed prosecutorial misconduct, shoddy police work, an administration's rush to judgment, and the media's disregard for the facts -- dividing both a prestigious university and the city of Durham.
Wiping away tears, Pressler demonstrated the steely resolve that helped him win more than two hundred games. For the next thirty minutes, Pressler put his personal situation aside and encouraged his players to stick together. He also made a bold promise: "One day, we will get a chance to tell the world the truth. One day."
This is that day.
Pressler, who has not done an interview since the saga began, has handed his private diary from those three weeks to New York Times bestselling author Don Yaeger, exposing vivid details, including the day Pressler was fired, when the coach asked Athletic Director Joe Alleva why the school "wasn't willing to wait for the truth" to come out. "It's not about the truth anymore," Alleva said to the coach in a signature moment that said it all. In addition to Pressler, Yaeger interviewed more than seventy-five key figures intimately involved in the case. The result is a tale that defies logic.
"It is tough to be one of fifty people who believed a story when fifty million people believed something else," Pressler said. "This wasn't about the truth to many of the others involved. My story is all about the truth."
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
June 12, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from It's Not About the Truth by Don Yaeger
THE PERFECT STORM
It was a postcard-perfect Monday afternoon in North Carolina on March 13, 2006. A brilliant sun was accompanied by temperatures in the midseventies. The campus of Duke University was peaceful and relatively empty with the arrival of spring break. Dukies, with the exception of athletic teams in season such as mens lacrosse, welcomed the reprieve. The city of Durham, meanwhile, embraced a new work week. Durhamites savored the crisp, clean air as they scurried around town and tackled their to-do lists. Little did they know the perfect storm had started to churn on the horizon.
The Perfect Storm?
Yes, thats exactly what would occur. Not a drop of rain would fall in Durham over the next twelve hours, but an extraordinary combination of events would devastate a prestigious university and a proud city, changing many lives forever. Not rain, not snow, not wind would cause this massive destruction.
The elements that produced this perfect storm were in a powder keg, just waiting to be ignited. That powder keg, located in the living room at 610 North Buchanan Boulevard, was packed with the politics of privilege, race, sex, and money. As the alcohol flowed, and music filled the air, the fuse was lit.
There was an explosion around midnight.
Duke University, ranked as the thirteenth Best University in the World in 2006 by the New York Times Higher Education Supplement, is extraordinarily picturesque. Grand Gothic buildings covered in warm, gold- toned brick stand high above the magnolia and dogwood trees that fill the campus. An aura of privilege and excellence surround the thousands of eager, bright students who pay an annual tuition in excess of forty-four thousand dollars and rush to keep pace with their demanding academic and social schedules. However, the university's beautiful exterior couldn't conceal the turmoil beneath.
People love to hate Duke. Though no one can pinpoint exactly why, everyone has a theory. John Burness, Dukes senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, believes it stems from the school's reputation. Once the darling underdog, Duke is now viewed as a powerful elitist. Its attitude, intellect, and wealth set an exclusive standard, similar to the success exhibited by professional baseball's New York Yankees. Most of the Ivy League despise the thought that Duke is trying to be something it's not: one of them. In the Ivies' minds, Duke is a poser, striving to emulate an image Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Stanford, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania spent centuries developing.
"I really believe that if this had occurred almost anywhere else in the country, it wouldn't have been this big," Burness said. "It would have been big, but nowhere as big as Duke. We are on a pedestal. I think the factor that put this one over the top, with all the other elements -- and God, it had all the other elements -- was that this was Duke."
Those "other elements":
Outside the "Duke Bubble," as many students call it, you enter Durham, a vibrant and growing city that can also be especially dangerous in places. It was the murder capital of North Carolina in 2005, boasting thirty-seven murders, the highest murder rate per capita. Though not all of Durham adheres to the poor, blue-collar family image the media portrays, nevertheless, its crime rate and poverty levels are alarming. The contrast between the surrounding community and the young, elite, predominately white Dukie is startling and cause for friction. The national media have described Durham as "a small Southern town where conflict over race and class dominates daily life." Even the Princeton Review noted in 2006 that "Duke and Durham have one of the most strained town-gown relationships in the nation."